Top 10 things to do in Gisborne

Venture to the Tairāwhiti Gisborne region and be the first in the world to see the sunrise. 

Rich Māori culture, sacred mountains, bustling events and great weather make Gisborne the perfect year-round destination. Discover the top things to do in the Gisborne region. 

1. Watch the sunrise from sacred Maunga Hikurangi

Maunga Hikurangi is the sacred mountain of the Ngāti Porou people and the first place in the world to see the sunrise. Stand in awe before nine breathtaking carvings, each with their own story to tell and Māori legends to remember.

Explore Maunga Hikurangi

2. Get up close to stingrays on the Tatapouri reef

Under the watchful eye of the expert guides from Dive Tatapouri, you can head to the shallow reef at low tide and observe stingrays and eagle rays up close. The stingrays are wild but their inquisivite nature brings them close to the shore. 

3. Slippery-slide down the giant natural Rere Rockslide

Pack your swimwear and grab a boogie board then head to Rere Rockslide. This is New Zealand's largest naturally-made water slide and it's 60 metres of downhill adrenaline before landing in a four-metre deep swimming hole! If you're driving there from Gisborne be sure to stop in at Eastwoodhill Arboretum and Rere Falls. Before you slide, check the water conditions(opens in new window) and ensure you're a confident swimmer.

4. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway and walk on Tolaga Bay Wharf

If you're driving north from Gisborne along the Pacific Coast Highway make sure you stop in Tolaga Bay (Uawa) and walk the longest wharf in the Southern Hemisphere (660 metres long). Tolaga Bay Wharf is where Captain Cook sailed in to meet the Te Aitanga a Hauiti tribe when the Endeavour first reached New Zealand. Bookmark this handy interactive map(opens in new window).

5. Cycle on a historic railway with Gisborne Railbike Adventures

When the railway lines near Gisborne ceased operation in 2012 the team at Gisborne Railbike Adventures(opens in new window) saw this as an opportunity to experience the railway by bike. So grab some friends and cycle over the 500 metre long Waipaoa River rail bridge, or admire the sea views on a coastal loop near Muriwai or on the Mahia peninsula. Easy riding means age is no barrier and there are also E-bikes available. 

Choose your railway ride

6. Try crafty beers and tasty wines 

You don't have to venture far from the city centre to find a tasty tipple. There are a dozen wineries in the area, all showcasing their best bottles at their cellar doors, including the famed Gisborne chardonnay. Top off a day surfing with a pint at Sunshine Brewing(opens in new window).  

Take me to the wine

7. Cycle the Motu Trail from Gisborne to the Bay of Plenty

Hire a bike and tackle the Motu Trails which are are part of the Ngā Haerenga trails -  22 Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window). The Motu Trails are 121kilometres of scenic cycling between Gisborne and Whakatane and Ōpōtiki in the Bay of Plenty region. Head to Cycle Gisborne to get started on the trail or family friendly city cycling. 

8. Surf the East Coast waves

Where else could you find a surf beach just minutes walk from the city centre? Beginners surf lessons can be found at Waikanae/Roberts Road. For more challenging surf breaks, you can drive from Gisborne along State Highway 35 until you reach Wainui Beach and Makorori Beach. This coastline is home to small Kiwi towns with friendly locals so be sure to stop in for a break. 

9. Chill out at New Zealand's coolest cinema

Visit the Dome Cinema, Tairāwhiti Gisborne’s best kept secret. The cinema shows mainstream hits alongside an impressive selection of art-house gems.

10. Explore classic Kiwi towns and golden beaches

Balmy year-round weather in the region means lots of time spent outdoors. Cooks Cove Walkway is a historic site. It's where Captain Cook stopped to repair the Endeavour. From Tolaga Bay you can walk across farmland to get to Cooks Cove where you can spend the day swimming and exploring the hole-in-the-rock. Te Kuri Farm Walkway and the summit of Titirangi (Kaiti Hill) in Gisborne are also great day walks. 


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